Lakers Could Have Plenty to Choose From Among Remaining NBA Free Agents

Former Laker Dion Waiters, left, and current Laker Marc Gasol

Getty Former Laker Dion Waiters, left, and current Laker Marc Gasol

The Lakers are carrying a full roster, but there is still a chance that a spot could be created if the team needs one as the NBA season presses on. Forward Alfonzo McKinnie is a candidate to be waived at some point if the Lakers find they need to address another weakness in the lineup.

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There are, surprisingly, some pretty good names available in free agency should the Lakers go that route. Here’s a look:

Kyle Korver. This could be it for Korver, after 17 NBA seasons and 2,450 made 3-pointers for six teams. He was signed by the Bucks last summer and did what he does best for them—made 3s, at a 41.8% clip. He could find a team that needs shooting but at 39, he is a defensive liability. Still, it is hard to believe that as the season presses on, there won’t be a team in need of a surefire perimeter shooter like Korver.

Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks waived Ilyasova and he has not been able to drum up much interest around the NBA. He is 33, but at 6-foot-9, still an effective stretch-4. He played 63 games last season and averaged 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes. He is not particularly athletic, but in half-court sets, he is a floor-spacer off the bench.

Taj Gibson. It is no surprise that the Knicks did not want to pick up Gibson’s option at $9 million, but he did get 63 starts for New York last year and can be a strong, stabilizing force for someone’s second unit. Gibson is a very good rebounder and smart defender who can be a small-ball center when needed, but his big problem is that he never developed much of a jumper. He has taken 118 3-pointers in 11 seasons and made only 22.0% of them.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Jefferson is a very good wing defender and when it comes to being a 3-and-D guy, he has the “D” part secured. It’s the “3” that eludes him. He has taken only 0.7 per game in his career and made 21.3%. Still, he rebounds, he plays defense and he can make a midrange jumper.

Gerald Green. Green has rolled through eight teams in 14 pro seasons, not counting two years playing in Russia. He is a smart, veteran scorer who has improved himself defensively. There just wasn’t room for him in Houston—will there be room elsewhere?

Dion Waiters. Yes, the former Laker is a free agent again. He did not show much during his time on the floor in the Orlando bubble and teams are wary of his past locker-room problems. But he can still provide instant offense (11.9 points with the Lakers in 23.6 minutes).

Noah Vonleh. Two years ago, Vonleh was a starter for the Knicks averaging 8.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 25.3 minutes. He was waived by the Bulls eight days ago, though, after testing positive for COVID-19. His quarantine ends Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas. It’s highly unlikely the Celtics will bring back their former star guard, but he is lobbying for an NBA return wherever he can get one. Thomas says he has had his troublesome hip fixed and is ready to be a contributor in any role.

Dewayne Dedmon. Everyone loved Dedmon two years ago when he was a Hawks center knocking down 38.2% of his 3-point shots. The Kings signed him to a three-year, $40 million deal and he wound up getting traded back to Atlanta once it was clear he was not in great condition and did not fit well with Sacramento. He was waived and his contract stretched by Detroit and it’s unclear whether we’ll see him back in the NBA.

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